How I Remodeled My Basement for Under $1000

Jan 2, 2013 by

I thought I’d start 2013 off with a fun blog post.  I’m not going to get into specifics, but if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line 🙂


What a mess!

Angie and I bought our house six years ago.  While Angie had multiple criteria any potential dwelling had to meet; I really only had one dealbreaker: The house had to have a basement that could serve as some kind of hangout of sorts.  I like to host the occasional poker game and have always enjoyed having my own little sanctuary away from the rest of the house.  Call me ‘easy to please’. After looking at several potential houses, we found the one we end up buying – four-bedrooms, two-car garage, decent kitchen and bathroom… and of course, a finished basement. Fast forward five years.




Why do I even have most of this stuff?

At first everything went as planned, and I enjoyed the room as I anticipated.  But over time, one thing led to another and before I knew it, my beloved basement sanctuary had become a catch-all of sorts – a landing place for obsolete televisions, rickety bookshelves, barely functional guitar amps and an assortment of empty boxes, kids toys, furniture and who knows what else.  Combine this with the unfortunate occasional mess that comes with owning two dogs and you can kiss your best laid plans goodbye.





Determined to do something about this!

Part of the apathy toward the basement and really all home improvement projects in general came from the fact that in 2008 the housing market took a significant downturn.  Committing a bunch of money to remodel a house that wasn’t worth what we owed wasn’t exactly an inviting proposition, considering the mortgage we were paying (and continue to pay each month). But last January, I decided something needed to be done.  The room had too much potential to not be enjoyed.  Something must be done.



With help from my dad...

With help from my dad…

The previous owner had already put up all the baseboard and rail and such, and did so using premium oak lumber.  So it was just a matter of applying a finish to the existing trim.  My dad gave me several different finishes, so there was no cost for the stain. The two shelves that run the length of two walls were constructed from a single 14 foot long 2 by 12.  I got the idea from the Founders Brewery Taphouse, which has a similar setup in part of their restaurant.




…and my daughter.

I never really set a budget, nor did I keep close track of everything I spent on the project but I am sure it came in well under $1000.  The biggest expense was the hardwood flooring, which ended up costing somewhere around $300.  I did all the work myself (with help from my father), so there were no labor costs.  I probably spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 on paint/supplies.  Other expenses included a random orbital sander, screws, fasteners and other hardware, decorations, wallpaper, sandpaper, 2 by 4’s and other miscellaneous items.  Those probably added up to around $250 over the course of the project.     The 14 foot 2 by 12 cost around $20.

Finally, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone that helped and/or offered guidance and ideas, specifically my father Keith July, owner of July’s Woodworks.

At least that pool table got used for something :)

At least that pool table got used for something 🙂


Gotta have ‘Dogs Playing Poker’.



Let the games begin!


Placing a shelf directly under a dartboard might not have been the wisest idea.


I know the curtains are awful. One thing at a time.

Yes, I am fully aware that it won't be a 'Mancave' forever.

Yes, I am fully aware that it won’t be a ‘Mancave’ forever.


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